Cherry Cheesecake Brownies from Cooking Light’s ‘Incredibly Decadent Desserts’

Every Week, Yahoo Food spotlights a cookbook that stands out from all the rest. This week’s cookbook is Cooking Light’s Incredibly Decadent Desserts: Over 100 Divine Treats with 300 Calories or Less by Deb Wise (Oxmoor House), a recipe developer and tester for Cooking Light magazine. Read more about Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week here.

Photograph by Stephen Devries

By Deb Wise, Cooking Light

Serves 18 (serving size: 1 bar)
Hands-on: 34 minutes Total: 1 hour 24 minutes 

Technique tip: Adding just a bit of flour and baking powder to the cheesecake batter gives it a lighter texture so that it doesn’t sink underneath the brownie batter while it bakes. Cherry liqueur amps up the flavor of the cherries, but you can substitute water, if you’d prefer a non-alcoholic version. 

½ cup chopped dried tart cherries            
1 tablespoon cherry liqueur (such as kirschwasser)
1 cup sugar, divided
3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 ounces fat-free cream cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
5/8 teaspoon baking powder, divided
Dash of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Baking spray with flour
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
3.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about ¾ cup)
1/8 teaspoon salt 

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place cherries and liqueur in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 30 seconds or until boiling; let stand 10 minutes. Place ¼ cup sugar and cream cheeses in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute or until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon flour, ¼ teaspoon vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, salt, and 1 egg; beat just until blended. Stir in cherry mixture.

Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with baking spray. Combine chocolates, butter, and oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until mixture melts, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla, 2 egg whites, and 1 egg, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Weigh or lightly spoon 3.9 ounces (about ¾ cup) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, ¾ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add chocolate mixture, stirring until just combined.

Scrape half of the brownie batter into prepared pan. Dot half of cheesecake batter on top. Top with remaining brownie batter. Dot with remaining cheesecake batter. Swirl batters using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325°F for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 18 bars.

Calories 185; Fat 9.5g (sat 5.4g, mono 2g, poly 0.4g); Protein 3g; Carbohydrates 23g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 38mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 88mg; Calcium 30mg

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